Summer has yielded something unexpected for me – additional responsibility! I’m working a part-time, temporary position at the Chapel Hill Public Library while also raising and training a puppy – Marcie (pictures to follow). Oddly enough, these new layers of time restrictions have helped motivate me to read even more, to eek out time and use all my resources to read as much as possible!
Thanks to my public library position I’ve taken advantage of Overdrive, and now, on my 15 minute drives to work and my multiple walks of the aforementioned fur baby, I can enjoy books while my hands are busy. Ms. Marcie Monster has also taken quite well to a morning routine that suits my need to read: wake up crying for a walk, come back inside and spaz out in the second bedroom, eat her breakfast, and then pass out. What has this meant for yours truly? Reading time.
And it’s in those morning hours, as well as my customary half hour or so before sleep whisks me away, that I devoured two of Gaiman’s classics: American Gods and The Ocean at the End of the Lane. Neverwhere was my first foray into Gaiman, and I was hooked ever since. Friends and strangers had recommended him to for years and years prior, and I quickly understood why. I followed that with his Sandman series, and although I haven’t finished it yet, I found enough of myself in it that I plan on inking his countenance on my back once the money and the perfect image make themselves available.
The Ocean at the End of the Lane found its way onto my online body via a series of quotes on Instagram. I really could have flooded my profile with page after page from the text, but at some point quoting and praise infringes upon copyright enough that my librarian soul knows I’m doing the wrong thing. Magical realism, fairy tales, and the imaginative sheen of childhood observations* color this story. Equally appropriate for adults and teenagers, Ocean allows for interplay between memory, dreams, and interpretation, something that either of the aforementioned audiences would have the life experience to appreciate. American Gods, a tale of the old gods fearing replacement by the new gods to whom we dedicate so much time, thrilled me with its intricate network of myths pulled into the modern era – a bleaker, grittier Percy Jackson, although that comparison barely does it justice. The protagonist, Shadow, is a man between multiple worlds: prison and freedom; the past and the future; his memories and reality; the old gods and the new. Each of these is a layered duality, and inexorably connected to each of the others. Prison, for instance, is one of the mind and the body, and incarceration in the form of actual jail, servitude, debts, and a contrite perspective on past decisions serves as but one of the vehicles of his journey.
*This post was left as a draft somehow. July 17th was the original writing date. Whoa! Well, time to resume my writing.